Thursday, August 21, 2008

Banana Bread, Ebony and Ivory

I have loved banana bread since I was a kid. My Grandma would make it for me...specifically for me. She would save a loaf for me, hiding it from the other banana bread eaters to make sure that her darling Granddaughter would have a slice. OK, I'm waxing poetic here, my Grandma loved me, but she didn't spoil me. If I wanted some banana bread, I better get in there and get it, because she wasn't gonna keep it back special or nothing...she had lots of special people to take care of, I was one of many.
When I saw that a baking group on the chat board I frequent decided to tackle a new type of banana bread I became excited. Banana bread. YUM. I love banana bread. I want to make my own banana bread. And then, the moment of truth came. I knew that you had to let bananas, well, ROT to make banana bread. But I've never touched rotten bananas before, let alone peeled and mashed rotten bananas. Gulp. But never fear. Just as I've conquered my fear of raw chicken, I also conquered my aversion to rotten bananas. Now I didn't bathe in them, or rub them all over my face. But I did handle them without gagging. It's a testiment to my love of the finished product. So I tackled Tuesday's with Dorie's black and white banana bread, and I lived to tell the story.
Black and White Banana Bread

(Source: Dorie Greenspan Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours page 232)
Makes about 8 servings.

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1½ ripe bananas, peeled
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of ½ a lemon
1 tablespoon dark rum
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with the lemon juice and zest, then stir in the rum. Melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of the butter together in a microwave oven or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining stick (8 tablespoons) of butter at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. The batter will look curdled, and it will continue to look curdled as you add ingredients. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk, and when it is blended, add the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas. The batter will look even lumpier.

Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into the prepared pan, then, using a table knife, swirl the batters together, taking care not to overdo it.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes and if the cake starts to brown too much, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for about 15 minutes before unmolding, then cool the cake to room temperature right side up on the rack.


  1. you did a wonderful job with the marbling! the bananas do not have to be rotten, just very ripe :)

  2. well.. u succeeded! that looks a hell lot better than mine did!